What You Will Learn in This Article
- How Your Oral Heath Reflects The Rest of Your Body
- Why Women Are More Sensitive to Oral Health Issues
- The Problem with Typical Toothpaste
- Product Comparison: Colgate vs Tom’s vs Akamai
- 5 Steps to Detox Your Mouth
- The Oral Care Kit I Recommend
You may be investing a lot of effort into your overall health right now, ensuring your immune system, digestive system, sleep routine, and stress levels are in fighting shape. But, make sure you’re not overlooking one crucial piece of the puzzle: your dental health.
After all, where does the digestive system begin? Our oral health represents our overall health.
If you were to look up the digestive system in an anatomy and physiology textbook, you might be surprised to learn that the digestive system actually begins in the mouth. In fact, the mouth has its own microbiome (“oral biome”) which determines the health or disease of the so-called oral cavity. And, just like in the rest of the body, signs and symptoms in the mouth can indicate underlying disease —and not just disease of the mouth.
How Your Oral Heath Reflects The Rest of Your Body
Signs of disease in the mouth, like bad breath, gingivitis, cavities, dry mouth, and others may reflect some systemic health issues you may not even know are there. A 2015 study published in the Journal of Periodontology followed a population of African Americans with normal kidney function. Those who had severe periodontal disease were at four times the risk of later developing chronic kidney disease compared to those without severe periodontal disease within about five years. While gum disease and kidney disease may seem unrelated, it’s the underlying imbalances driving both that tie them together.
Here are some signs and symptoms of the gums and teeth and some of the potential causes:
If you have red gums, you likely have been told you have “gingivitis,” inflammation of the gums. Red gums can also indicate inflammation throughout the body. Gingivitis is associated with uncontrolled blood sugar levels and diabetes. However, there are many other potential causes or contributing factors, such as smoking, dry mouth, vitamin C deficiency, immune deficiency, or bacterial or viral infections. Gingivitis is a mild form of periodontal disease.
Pale gums may be an indication of a hormone-related infection called menopausal gingivostomatitis. This happens because of atrophy of the mucosa surrounding the teeth with lowered estrogen and reduced blood flow and can be caused by a bacterial or viral infection. Pale gums can also be caused by other conditions that reduce blood flow to the gums, such as anemia, or from certain infections.
Yellowish gums (as opposed to simply pale), especially along the teeth, can also indicate gingivitis. A yellow area on the gum, surrounding a tooth, is a sign of infection, like an abscess. The yellow comes from the pus that comes with the infection.
Bleeding gums can mean you have a lot of inflammation in your body, that you’re deficient in vitamin C or vitamin D, or that your hormones need help. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, bleeding gums may also be caused by vitamin K deficiency, bleeding disorders, some types of cancers, infections, and certain medications (namely, blood thinners.)
Cavities can be an indication of oral dysbiosis, dry mouth (as the saliva isn’t there to remineralize the teeth), systemic inflammation, increased blood sugar levels. According to the Cleveland Clinic, “The decline in estrogen that occurs with menopause also puts women at greater risk for bone loss or osteoporosis and inflammation of the tissues surrounding the teeth (called periodontitis). Loss of bone, specifically in the jaw, can lead to tooth loss. Receding gums can be a sign of bone loss in the jawbone and also expose more of the tooth surface to potential tooth decay.”
In short, balancing your blood sugar levels (by changing your diet and adding a few strategic supplements), as well as balancing your hormones play a major role.
Dry mouth can indicate underlying blood sugar issues or diabetes. It can also be caused by autoimmune diseases such as Sjogren’s syndrome, nerve disorders, HIV/AIDS, radiation or chemotherapy, or certain medications.
Why Women Are More Sensitive to Oral Health Issues
According to the Cleveland Clinic, “Women have an increased sensitivity to oral health problems because of the unique hormonal changes they experience. These hormonal changes not only affect the blood supply to the gum tissue, but also the body’s response to the toxins (poisons) that result from plaque build up. As a result of these changes, women are more prone to the development of periodontal disease at certain stages of their lives, as well as to other oral health problems.”
In general, women’s unique hormonal balance makes them prone to oral health issues, which we know can affect their overall health. It’s a vicious cycle. That’s why it’s especially important for us to take a serious look at our oral care routine.
Take Care of Your Oral Health to Promote Overall Health
Not only can oral signs and symptoms indicate other health issues, but oral disease can also trigger or contribute to other health issues.
For example, periodontal disease can actually be a trigger for Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. In addition, links have been made between periodontal disease and these serious health issues:
- Systemic inflammation
- High cholesterol
- Heart disease
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Kidney disease
- Pre-term or low birth weight babies
Dysbiosis of the mouth microbiome can even lead to dysbiosis of the gut microbiome. That occurs when saliva is swallowed and travels down through the rest of the digestive system. Ultimately, the negative impact on the balance of bacteria, gut barrier function, and the increase in inflammatory cytokines can contribute to autoimmune diseases, such as Rheumatoid Arthritis.
So, what’s the solution? Taking your oral health seriously and optimizing your oral hygiene.
The Problem with Typical Toothpaste
It’s vital to take care of your dental health for the benefit of your whole body. You probably already know that excess sugar can harm your dental health, as it throws off your oral microbiome. But, the very things you use to care for your teeth may be working against you. Typical toothpaste and dental products can be downright toxic, and they’re used in one of the most highly absorbent parts of your body.
Some of the most problematic ingredients found in toothpaste are:
Fluoride is in many toothpastes, even natural ones. Fluoride is a neurotoxin which can build up in your pineal gland over time. The pineal gland helps to regulate circadian rhythm by producing melatonin. If the pineal gland is doing its job of producing adequate melatonin, it’s going to be difficult to get good sleep. Not only that, but a decrease in melatonin levels is associated with increased risk of chronic disease, including cardiovascular disease and cancer.
According to a report by the National Academies of Sciences’ National Research Council, fluoride is also an endocrine disruptor. While the mechanisms have yet to be identified, there is good amount of scientific evidence to back up this claim. Calcium balance and enzymes that activate hormones are some of the ways fluoride may work against hormone balance. Fluoride also inhibits the thyroid gland. In fact, in the 1950s, Fluoride was used to suppress an overactive thyroid.
Since fluoride works against enzymes, it can have a very negative effect on the microbiome whether it’s in the mouth or the gut. In the gut, prolonged exposure to fluoride is associated with Inflammatory Bowel Disease.
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS)
A surfactant (detergent or foaming agent). The manufacturing process (ethoxylation) sometimes results in contamination with dioxanes, which are known to be carcinogens. SLS may also negatively impact the oral microbiome.
Triggers intestinal inflammation. Carrageenan is used in animal studies to trigger Ulcerative Colitis, an Inflammatory Bowel Disease. This can also lead to an increased risk of cancer.
Titanium dioxide is a whitening agent that has toxic effects on the neurological system and the immune system. Basically, it can lead to brain inflammation, allergies, and cell damage.
Hydrated silica is harsh abrasive that may be damaging to the teeth and gums.
When a product’s ingredient label says “natural flavors,” the company has no requirement to disclose the ingredients. Since we don’t know the ingredients, we don’t know whether they include toxic chemicals.
Product Comparison: Colgate vs Tom’s vs Akamai
Here’s a small product comparison. We’ll look at one of the most popular conventional toothpaste brands and formulations (Colgate), a popular natural alternative (Tom’s of Maine), and a brand I personally recommend (Akamai).
Colgate is one of the top toothpaste brands in the market. Let’s look at the ingredient list from their site:
Colgate Cavity Protection Toothpaste with Fluoride:
Active Ingredient: Sodium Monofluorophosphate (0.76% (0.15% w/v Fluoride Ion)). Purpose: Anticavity. Inactive Ingredients: Dicalcium Phosphate Dihydrate, Water, Glycerin, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Cellulose Gum, Flavor, Tetrasodium Pyrophosphate, Sodium Saccharin.
The Safety Warning on the label should really give us a clue:
Safety Warning Keep out of reach of children under 6 years of age. If more than used for brushing is accidentally swallowed, get medical help or contact a Poison Control Center right away.
Yikes. Keep toothpaste away from children? It seems like we are supposed to teach them about oral hygiene from early on.
Furthermore, this market leader contains many of the ingredients discussed above —none of which belong in your mouth.
Time to find another option. So, what about the popular “natural” option, Tom’s of Maine?
Tom’s of Maine
Tom’s of Maine has been marketed as a “natural” and healthy product. What most customers don’t know is that Tom’s of Maine is now owned by Colgate-Palmolive.
Let’s take a look at their fluoride-free option.
Tom’s of Maine Fluoride-Free Antiplaque & Whitening Toothpaste:
Calcium carbonate, glycerin, water, xylitol, hydrated silica, mentha viridis (spearmint) leaf oil and other natural flavors, sodium lauryl sulfate, zinc citrate, Chondrus crispus (carrageenan), sodium bicarbonate.
Again, here we have sodium lauryl sulfate and carrageenan, both of which can trigger disease, including cancer. The one ingredient that is of value here is calcium carbonate as it cleans teeth. Apart from that, there is nothing in Tom’s toothpaste that fights bacteria, helps with remineralization, or promotes healthy salivation.
There are, however, clean dental products that’ll truly help you do just that: clean your mouth, and support a healthy oral microbiome. I personally recommend Akamai dental products. In fact, these products are so good, they can help cavities repair themselves because they remineralize teeth.
They also promote healthy dental practices like oil pulling, an Ayurvedic technique where you swish oil in your mouth, removing toxins. Personally, I suffer from receding gums, possibly due to issues with my own microbiome. Oil pulling always reduces the impact of my receding gums.
I’ve also seen clients have great success with oil pulling. When one client started the technique, her dentist raved about her teeth, proclaiming them so much whiter and healthier than before.
Below, I’ll break down what goes into each of their products that I recommend and their benefits.
Akamai Mineral Toothpowder
Calcium Montmorillonite Bentonite Clay (food grade), Kaolin Clay (non-irradiated), Baking Soda, Himalayan Salt, Fulvic Acid, Essential Oils of Peppermint*, Cinnamon*, Clove*, Tea Tree*, and Anise (*certified organic)
The ingredients in Akamai tooth powder are not just non-toxic; they are actually beneficial. Each one has been included for a specific purpose.
- Calcium Montmorillonite Bentonite Clay (food grade) – This green clay is a mild abrasive that helps to polish and whiten teeth. It’s rich in minerals, including calcium, magnesium, silica and potassium, which help support remineralization of the teeth and are also beneficial to the gums.
- Kaolin Clay – This white clay is rich in naturally occurring silica. It’s a very fine powder. As a result, it gently cleans teeth with its mild abrasiveness. It also absorbs toxins and helps remineralize the teeth.
- Baking Soda (sodium bicarbonate) – Baking soda is a mild abrasive that helps clean and whiten teeth by removing built-up plaque. The alkaline powder in baking soda can also help prevent bacteria from growing in your mouth
- Himalayan Salt – Himalayan salt is used in the toothpaste to stimulate the natural production of saliva, helping to balance the oral microbiome and keep the mouth clean. Salt also helps to soothe inflamed tissue.
- Fulvic Acid (fulvic mineral complex) – Fulvic acid comes from ancient soil —humus, or peat. This extract contains over 70 trace and macro minerals, 14 amino acids, 5 vitamins, and 16 organic acids. The fulvic acid helps the cell absorb and use nutrients more efficiently. It also helps in the detoxification of the mouth. It helps heal and repair tissue.
- Peppermint Essential Oil (Mentha Piperita) – This oil comes from the leaves of the peppermint plant. It’s a natural anti-inflammatory which helps prevent gingivitis.
- Cinnamon Essential Oil (Cinnamomum Zeylanicum or Cinnamomum verum) – This oil comes from the bark From the bark of a Cinnamon tree, native to Sri Lanka. Cinnamon is the most effective essential oil at killing the bacteria that cause tooth decay (cavities).
- Clove Essential Oil (Eugenia Caryophyllata) – This oil comes from the clove evergreen tree. It has long been used in the dental industry to numb the gums. Clove is the most effective ingredient against the bacteria that causes periodontal disease. It’s a powerful antioxidant oil that adds a spicy flavor.
- Tea Tree Essential Oil (Melaleuca Alternifolia) – This oil comes from the leaves of the Tea Tree Plant, a tall shrub in the myrtle family. Tea tree essential oil is antiviral, anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, and anti-inflammatory. Two of its constituents, cineol and propanol, can decrease gingivitis and reduce plaque.
- Anise Essential Oil (Illicium Verum) – This oil comes from the fruit of the anise plant. It’s antiseptic, antibacterial and antifungal. It also adds a pleasant, licorice-like flavor.
5 Steps to Detox Your Mouth
Step 1: Detox | Tongue Cleaner
Benefits: Physically removes bacteria and toxins from tongue to freshen breath and reduce bad bacteria. Your body detoxes all night and delivers waste to the tongue—this is the only effective way to physically remove bacteria from your mouth (a toothbrush is ineffective and redistributes the gunk).
How to: Place on tongue as far back as comfortable. Press the curved section of cleaner on tongue and gently pull forward removing the unwanted coating. This is best done first thing in the morning.
Get the Akamai Tongue Cleaner here.
Step 2: Brush Teeth | Mineral Toothpowder
Benefits: Akamai’s Mineral Toothpowder helps control bad bacteria, gently cleans and supports remineralization with bioavailable minerals. Their Dr. Bass inspired Toothbrush features a bristle layout designed to reach under the gums and the smaller handle allows for more gentle precision. A key to preventing and controlling gum disease is brushing around and under the gum line where bacteria and plaque accumulate.
How to: Wet the toothbrush and shake off any excess water. Dip the top half of your toothbrush in the powder (you don’t need much). Brush gently at a 45-degree angle using a light circular motion, paying close attention to getting under the gum line.
Get the Akamai Mineral Toothpowder here, and their Bamboo Toothbrush here.
Step 3: Floss | Infused Black Floss
Benefits: Physically removes plaque, bacteria and debris at the gum line and in between teeth while delivering essential oils (bad bacteria fighters) and fulvic acid (trace minerals). Not flossing has been linked to a host of diseases—and not only in the mouth.
How to: Use approximately 14 – 18” of floss. Gently slide it against the side of each tooth, with a motion to draw debris away from the gum. Advance to a clean section of floss before inserting. This is best done in the evening.
Get the Infused Black Floss here.
Step 4: Detox | Oil Pulling Mouthwash
Benefits: Controls bacteria, detoxes mouth and can help detox body systemically (based on frequency and length of time pulling).
How to: Take a teaspoon-sized sip, swish and pull oil through your teeth and gums for a minimum of 5 minutes and up to 20 (the longer the better to get the full effects of detoxing your mouth and body). Spit down the drain (or into garbage) when done and rinse. Then brush your teeth.
Do this at least 2 to 3 times a week. If you have an active infection (eg. cavity, gingivitis) consider oil pulling 3 times daily. Hard to find the time or can’t do it first thing in the morning? Consider pulling while you’re in the shower. This is best done in the morning.
Get the Oil Pulling Mouthwash here.
Step 5: Detox & Boost | Fulvic Mineral Complex
Benefits: Nourishes teeth and gums from the inside out while also boosting electrolytes/hydration and detoxing liver. Fulvic acid provides bioavailable forms of trace minerals, macro minerals, naturally occurring vitamins, amino acids and organic acids to every cell.
How to: Add 5 to 18 drops of FMC to your morning glass of filtered water along with a big twist of lemon and a pinch of sea salt (such as Himalayan salt). Powerful way to detox and rehydrate. This is best done in the morning.
Get the Fulvic Mineral Complex here.
The Oral Care Kit I Recommend
I highly recommend getting the Akamai Oral Care Complete Kit. This kit has everything you need to get your oral health back to better than ever.
This 2-month supply contains not only remineralizing tooth powder, but an entire line-up of oral care products and tools:
- Mineral Tooth Powder
- Fulvic Mineral Complex
- Bamboo Toothbrushes
- Oil Pulling Mouthwash
- Infused Black Floss + a FREE refill
- Tongue Cleaner
Not only is this line of oral products non-toxic, it’s also full of beneficial ingredients (many of them mentioned earlier) that can help improve the health of your teeth. Some of these ingredients include:
- 72 bioavailable trace and macro minerals and fulvic mineral complex to help remineralize your health
- Clay and baking soda to absorb toxins
- Himalayan sea salt to additionally help with mineralization, plus encourage the production of saliva
- Essential oils to help fight bacteria that lead to cavities, gum disease, and the dreaded halitosis (bad breath). They also help reduce inflammation and plaque.
- Sesame and black cumin seed oil to detoxify the mouth, reduce inflammation, and fight bacteria and plaque
Tip: Take 20% off their products (excluding the Oil Pulling Mouthwash) with the code hormonesbalance. You must have a minimum purchase of $35. It’s good for one-time orders and subscriptions (one per customer). This offer is valid until January 4th, 2021.
Why settle for simply “non-toxic” oral care when you can actually improve your dental health with beneficial oils and minerals? Good health starts in the digestive tract… which starts with your mouth.
Get your Akamai Oral Care Kit here.
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U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. Diabetes, gum disease, & other dental problems. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases Health Information page. September, 2014.
Mayo Clinic staff. Gingivitis. Patient Care & Health Information: Diseases & Conditions. August, 2017.
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Regarding the Akamai toothpaste, I’m wondering if the amount of baking soda in there would irritate those individuals who have a sensitivity? Years ago I switched from Colgate to Arm & Hammer Baking Soda toothpaste. After a few months, I developed a rash at the corners of my mouth from the toothpaste. As soon as I stopped using A&H, the rash disappeared. I realize that’s not conclusive, but I always assumed it was the baking soda that my body was reacting to, and as a result, I’ve been hesitant to try any toothpastes with baking soda.
We have not heard any feedback of individuals experiencing irritation when using the Akamai toothpaste. However, it may be best to if you reach out to Akamai customer service for clarification. Link to Akamai can be found in the article above.